Happy International Women's Day. We want to celebrate the occasion by bringing you this news: France has overtaken the United States' lead role in the number of women serving on the boards of Fortune Global 100 companies -- France 25.1%, US 20.9%, according to a Corporate Women Directors International study.
If that's not bad enough, the US joins China and Japan in having the lowest rate of women-held board seats among Fortune 200 companies, according to the International Business Times. Gee, China and Japan are not known for their women- friendly policies. That's some strange company we're keeping.
It's true that France's leap in women-held board seats is due to government-mandated quotas, but in just two years the number of women directors has doubled and their 2014 targets have already been met.
We don't advocate quotas. We think that American companies should do the right thing and diversify their boards on their own. We've even given them a benchmark: 20% or more by 2020. It doesn't seem like a lot to ask.
The US might learn a thing or two from Finland, where women now hold 22% of the board seats. They didn't need quotas to get there. Instead, they took the initiative themselves and put into place diversity oversight.
We encourage US companies to find and add women to the boards. Qualified women are ready to serve.